Monday, 14 October 2019

Rugby World Cup: That was the weekend that was

Firstly, sincere sympathies and condolences to all those in Japan who have suffered loss during the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Hagibis. 

The fact that any rugby was played at all was a remarkable achievement by all concerned. And what fantastic rugby we all witnessed as the weekend came to a climax with a quite astounding clash between Scotland and Japan. 

Any suggestion beforehand that the Japanese would have been happy to have the game cancelled in order to progress serenely to the quarter-finals was laid to rest as Japan tore into Scotland with a simply magnificent first half performance. That Scotland stayed in the game and made a fight of it was a credit to them, but Japan were just superb and proved once and for all to the world of rugby that they deserve a place at the top table. Brilliant.

Earlier in the day Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll had suggested, following Bundee Aki's red card against Samoa, that "the big hit is gone" from the game as a consequence of World Rugby's continued crackdown on high tackles.

I don't think that's strictly true - witness Semi Radrada's perfectly timed hit on Liam Williams in the Wales v Fiji clash - but what is correct is that players do now have to re-model their technique and not risk any tackle which might be reckless or dangerous which, in my humble opinion, can only be a good thing and has been a long time coming.

Back to Hagibis, and chapeau to the Canadian rugby squad who, having had their match against Namibia cancelled owing to the devastation caused by the storm, decided to roll up their sleeves and assist with recovery efforts in Kamaishi.

Good to see that the spirit of rugby remains alive and kicking.

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